Title: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka
Publisher: Simon & Schuste
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Digital Review Copy Provided by Publisher
WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?
When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.
Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.
Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka is a dark and brooding novel that revolves around the murder of fifteen year old Lucinda Hayes. Although there is an ongoing investigation to catch the killer, this is not a typical whodunit; it instead reads as character study of the story’s three narrators.
Lucinda is a popular student and the news of her murder sends shockwaves through the community. Fellow classmate Cameron Whitley is rather troubled and his crush on Lucinda has become a full-blown obsession. Cameron has an unsavory habit of peering into other people’s (including Lucinda’s) windows under the cover of darkness. However his behavior in regards to Lucinda crosses the line into stalking and while this is somewhat creepy, does his unhealthy fixation on her make him a killer?
Classmate Jade Dixon-Burns has an extremely unhappy home life due to an alcoholic mother and checked out father. She loathes Lucinda with every fiber of her being and she has resorted to a voodoo curse to exact her revenge on her nemesis. Obviously Lucinda’s death is not from voodoo but did Jade’s extreme dislike drive her to murder?
Local police Officer Russ Fletcher did not know the victim but he is connected to the case by two of the suspects. In a strange twist of fate, Fletcher’s first partner was Cameron’s dad who, for unknown reasons has mysteriously (and perhaps, ominously) vanished from town. Russ wants to carry out his ex-partner’s request to watch over Cameron, so he is a bit conflicted throughout the investigation. His tie to another suspect is much closer to his own troubled home which does nothing to alleviate the very real possibility that he will try to deflect attention away from Cameron during the investigation.
Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka focuses more on the novel’s narrators than the actual investigation into Lucinda’s murder. The pacing of the novel is slow since Jade, Cameron and Russ are mostly lost in self-absorbed introspection. None of the narrators are particularly likable or interesting and although Lucinda’s murder is solved, this feels more like an afterthought to the ongoing drama of the three principal characters.